We are now living in a “me-ism” culture, one preoccupied with self. Pleasing self seems to be the number-one priority in our world today. Our young people are growing up with a warped sense of entitlement which prompts them to demand, “I want what I want when I want it.”
Rampant me-ism has significantly affected the climate of our morals in our society. Young people today simply don’t view morality and values as did people only a few generations ago. So many of our young people today under 25 don’t believe homosexuality is sinful and see little reason to judge their friends’ actions.
Today, young people view the highest of human values and experiences is personal satisfaction and pleasure. They feel that their “needs” must be met and the bigger the pleasure the better off they are. There is a constant desire for greater and more effective stimulation, leading to a constant pursuit of instant gratification.
The tragic fact is that me-ism (selfishness) is not exclusively the problem of young people! According to Webster, selfishness is “caring unduly or supremely for oneself, regarding one’s own comfort or advantage in disregard or at the expense of others.”
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, there are teachings against me-ism (selfishness). Perhaps the most effective way to point out the depth of this problem is to remember that six of the ten commandments are directed primarily against the sins of me-ism (selfishness) (Exodus 20). For example, Commandment Number Five says, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” This commandment primarily emphasizes the fact that young people are prone to think too much of themselves and their own judgments and too little of their parents.
Commandment Number Six says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Killing is simply disregarding the basic right of someone else to life itself. Simply put, abortion takes a life that God has created, a living human being, and casts it away; because it will be inconvenient for the birth mother! Commandment Number Seven says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Committing adultery is a sin not only against God but against the other person. It is a willingness to degrade another person in order to gratify one’s own physical lust. It is an act of selfishness.
Commandment Number Eight says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Obviously stealing is a selfish disregard for the right of someone else concerning property.
Commandment Number Nine says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” which again is selfishness. It means a willingness to lie against another person to suit one’s own purposes.
The last in the list of the ten commandments is, “Thou shalt not covet,” which means to have an inordinate desire for what belongs to another. My point here is that six of the ten commandments are really commandments against me-ism (selfishness) (Exodus 20).
A classic example in the Old Testament is the story of Solomon (Eccles. 2:4-11). Notice the personal pronouns and how he emphasized the I, me, my, mine along with his own testimony that a self-centered life does not pay off in happiness and satisfaction.
The classic example in the New Testament is the story of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21). All his thinking was about himself. It is I, me, my and mine. His failure, in spite of all his great material success, can be traced to two outstanding sins, greed and me-ism (self-centered living). Let us learn from the examples of Solomon and the Rich Fool and resolve to put more emphasis upon the moral and spiritual values of life and give less attention to material things which will perish with the using (Matthew 6:19-21).